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Crisis Intervention

Characteristics of a Crisis
Time limited: Generally lasting no more than six

weeks. Typical phases:

Traditional attempt to problem solve Attempts to try alternative methods

Disorganization People are more open to change Opportunity to resolve previously unresolved
issues Successful experience

Crisis Intervention
Goal is to stabilize the family situation and

restore to their pre-crisis level of functioning. Opportunity to develop new ways of perceiving, coping, and problem-solving. The intervention is time limited and fast paced. Worker must take an active and directive approach.

Assessment Intervention Termination Assessment includes: the stressor event;

the person experiencing the crisis; and the meaning of the event to the person in crisis. Important to assess risk factors.

Risk Factors
Suicide or homicide Risk of physical or emotional harm to the
children Risk of break from reality (psychosis) Risk of client fleeing the situation.

Performing the Assessment

Conducting the interview
History: personal and familial of risk behavior Any means and plans the client may have about carrying out the risk behavior Controls: internal and external that are stopping the client from undertaking the risk behavior.

Observations during the interview

Level of anxiety; desperation; despair; sense of hopelessness; contact with reality.

The skill and technique most essential at this

stage is that of focusing while allowing the client to ventilate and express the overwhelming flood of emotions. Focusing technique can elicit more coherent information for assessment as well as help the client pull themselves together cognitively and emotionally. A focused interview can serve as an instrument of both assessment and intervention.

Planning occurs simultaneously as assessment is

made about how much time has elapsed between the occurrence of the stressor event and this initial interview. How much the crisis has interrupted the persons life; The effect of this disruption on others in the family; Level of functioning prior to crisis and what resources can be mobilized.

The goal of intervention is to restore the person

to pre-crisis level of equilibrium, not of personality changes. Worker attempts to mobilize the clients internal and external resources. Exact nature of the intervention will depend on the clients pre-existing strengths and supports and the workers level of creativity and flexibility.

Three Approaches
Expression and management of feelings involving techniques of ventilation; psychological support; emotional catharsis. Helping the client understand the connections between the stressor event and their response. Techniques include clarifying the problem; identifying and isolating the factors involved; helping the client gain an intellectual understanding of the crisis Also involves giving information; discussing alternative coping strategies and changing perceptions.

Environmental modification:
Pulling together needed external, environmental resources (either familial or formal helping agencies)

Any and all three approaches may be used at

any time depending where the client is, emotionally and cognitively. The goal is to help the client restore pre-crisis levels of functioning.

Danger of misunderstanding the clients
nonverbal behavior as well as spoken words due to cultural differences or the clients state of disorganization. Imperative for the worker not to assume that they understand what the client means by his spoken word or non-verbal behavior and vice versa. It is best to clarify and make sure.